Believe it or not, even 20-30 years ago, you rarely heard the phrase “Mercury retrograde” outside of rarified astrological conversations. Now it’s part of a common meme about boggled communications, and little planet Mercury has become the preferred scapegoat for anything not coming through clearly, i.e. “This is so messed up! Mercury must be retrograde!” Generally spoken by people who have no knowledge of or interest in either astrology or astronomy.
Yes, planet Mercury does symbolically deal with communications. It also rules commerce, deals and mysterious workings between the worlds, and has plenty of trickster assets ALL the time, not just during its retrogrades, those periods of apparent backward motion.
Recommendation #1: Before you blame Mercury ever again for any communication glitches, find it in the sky. Isn’t it simply polite to make the acquaintance of the little planet we’re so fond of heaping blame on?
- Mercury will be visible in the western, sunset sky for a few more days. If you spot two bright objects W-SW, the higher is Mercury, the lower is Mars.
- Mercury will reappear in the eastern, pre-dawn sky around mid- to late March.
- Mercury is often faint, low to the horizon, and pale in the light of the rising or setting sun: in other words, hard to spot (aka clever and illusive).
Recommendation #2: Put that Mercury retrograde energy to good use. Got a pile of old baggage that could use some insight and discussion? Retrogrades are great for dealing with stuff out of the past. If communications with others seems chancy right now, maybe try some journaling or sketching for your eyes only. Old baggage sucks. This is a way to set that stuff down and move on.
In 2013, Mercury will be retrograde from:
- February 23–March 17
- June 26–July 20
- October 21–November 10
There are Mercury stories and more great Mercury-working ideas in A Magical Tour of the Night Sky.